Early 2024 NBA Championship Odds: Denver, Boston The Top Favorites
The Denver Nuggets have wrapped up the 2023 NBA title with a dominating 4-1 victory over the Miami Heat in a matchup few saw coming. Naturally, then, both teams paid off pretty handsomely — Denver Nuggets odds having been available around +2000 and Miami Heat odds at monstrous numbers to win the Eastern Conference. For bettors, the focus now shifts to early 2023-24 NBA odds.
Will more longshots emerge in a notoriously favorite-centric league that was suddenly wide open in 2023? Let’s take a look at early NBA Finals odds for next season. Keep in mind that free agency, the draft and especially trading season will still move the needle for bundles of these teams. In recent years, we’ve seen multiple teams swing huge trades for star players. Thus, this early look serves more as a useful snapshot and starting point prior to potentially significant movement.
Click the odds below to place a wager on early NBA futures at legal sports betting sites.
Some Notable Favorites In 2024 NBA Odds
Denver Nuggets ()
Now, keep in mind the Nuggets are not opening close to the level of recent favorites like the Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets (remember that?). But, after four successive playoff series where the Nuggets arguably outplayed their consensus price, the betting market has been forced to take notice and give respect. Denver has opened as the consensus, if slight, favorite.
The only major loss from this team looks to be Bruce Brown. While the super-sub has already made noise about coming back for another ring chase, most pundits expect him to find a much bigger paycheck elsewhere. Brown laughably outplayed his $6.5 million contract and the Nuggets have committed huge money to their core.
Do the Nuggets have the most talented team in the NBA? That’s debatable as Boston still has an incredible collection of players. But, in likely NBA MVP odds favorite Nikola Jokic, they probably have the best single player. And they have simply shown a level of synergy and playoff mettle that Boston has never matched. With basically the whole band back and every key player in his prime, the Nuggets look like rightful favorites.
Boston Celtics ()
Like the Nuggets, the Celtics could in theory run it back with a team that spent much of the year as the favorite in NBA title odds. Unlike the Nuggets, we could see significant upheaval here as well.
Where the only uncertainty in Denver surrounds a useful but ultimately secondary piece, buzz has been building since the Celtics’ playoff flameout about whether the team will keep its “two star wings plus depth” model. Trading Jaylen Brown remains on the table if the two sides don’t come to terms on an extension. Brown remains under contract for one more year but would have massive value as a trade piece if they can’t strike a deal, meaning he could potentially walk for nothing.
Depending on the construction of such a trade, it’s possible Boston could be better off, as crazy as that may sound. Brown’s turnovers have been a recurring issue in the playoffs. And while he and Jayson Tatum are individually great, they don’t magnify one another the way other star duos do for Denver, LA Lakers and Golden State.
- Related: Boston Celtics odds
Phoenix Suns ()
In some corners, league observers and fans groused about the “easy road” the Nuggets had to their rings. Perhaps these folks forgot that they weren’t even favored to win their second-round series, or the West as a whole, before the playoffs. No, the market foolishly gave those nods to Phoenix, which fell woefully short of even giving Denver much of a challenge. Only completely off-the-charts shooting from Devin Booker extended the series to six games, and Denver proceeded to steamroll the Suns in Phoenix.
Reporting on the Suns’ 2023-24 offseason has centered around aging PG Chris Paul. The “Point God” fell to more of a Point Demi-God status, showing his first signs of serious decline. Initial reports had the Suns set to waive or trade him. However, the ultra plugged-in Brian Windhorst of ESPN also hinted he could return to Phoenix at a more palatable number than his current $30.8M.
The status of mercurial C Deandre Ayton also remains up in the air.
Between all that and the clear need for value vets willing to take pay cuts to chase a ring, the Suns number could see movement either way.
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Notable Mid-Tier And Longer Shots For 2024 NBA Odds
LA Lakers ()
One of the first teams to come up as a possible Chris Paul destination, the Lakers significantly outperformed their regular season results with a strong playoff run following a trade that rid them of Russell Westbrook and fortified the supporting cast around Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
Starting from a presumably better baseline with hopefully a better seeding position, could the Lakers be primed for a run?
Certainly, the team has set itself up well with a pristine cap sheet and two superstars that have proven playoff ability. The former mechanic should allow the team to shop at all levels of the free agent market, as well as explore sign-and-trade options with key free agent D’Angelo Russell. The Lakers have interesting decisions regarding Russell and fellow potential outgoing guards Austin Reaves, Malik Beasley and Dennis Schroeder.
The allure of LA and chasing rings with two elite stars remains a potential headwind for the Lakers to add talent. This price seems more likely to shorten than lengthen given the Lakers’ strong offseason position.
- Related: LA Lakers odds
Philadelphia 76ers ()
Of all the team discussed thus far, perhaps none appears more likely to lose a key piece than the Philadelphia 76ers. Star-crossed guard James Harden sounds genuinely torn between running it back in Philly and returning to Houston.
Should Harden leave, a 76ers team already thin in perimeter shot creation would suddenly have a massive void there. Unless Tyrese Maxey made another leap — surely possible heading to his age-23 season — Philly would have no reliable primary distributor. Due to the massive contracts of Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris, the team can’t bring in anyone near Harden’s caliber, in all likelihood.
The wild card would be whether new coach Nick Nurse can coax a higher level of postseason play out of Embiid. The 2023 MVP has notably faltered in the playoffs repeatedly, both statistically and in terms of team success.
Bottom line, though: if Harden walks, these odds will take a hit.
- Related: Philadelphia 76ers odds
Oklahoma City Thunder ()
Of all the teams near the bottom of the odds board, the OKC Thunder may have the clearest path to at least mid-tier playoff contention.
As a refresher, last season the Thunder won 40 games and pulled one play-in upset over the Pelicans before Minnesota crushed them to end their season.
However, the Thunder had a better differential than unquestioned at least fringe contenders like both LA teams, Dallas and Miami, per Cleaning The Glass. And that included a… liberal resting program… for superstar lead wing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander down the stretch. Also, the team got zero minutes from blue chip draft pick Chet Holmgren.
The single hardest thing to acquire and most critical component to a championship contender is an elite scorer who can also create for others. OKC has one. If it can keep building a solid supporting cast — Jalen Williams looks like a keeper after nearly stealing Rookie of the Year — this team can make a leap in a hurry.
- Related: Oklahoma City Thunder odds
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